Question on Crucifixion



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  • Question on Crucifixion

    I truly have heard that in biblical days that the hand was considered from the elbow to the end of the tip of the middle finger.... Have your read this from any reliable sources?

    Thus, when Jesus said look at my hands and feet.... (allowing the disciples to see the nail scars in his hand... that in reality it could have been located in the wrist area more so than our assumed understanding of just in the palm of the hand.)

    I love the Word... and never want to change the Word... but I also know that our Western mindsets don't always 'get it'.... but we think we have it all correct, and yet we lack more than we realize.

    Nothing urgent.... but thought I would ask. We often become ridiculously legalistic in our understanding and we end up missing the main thing.... I am not after that... have enough friends like that....

    Also know that you are busy nowadays, so just some time maybe you can share a little tidbit. First things first... according to your priorities.

  • #2
    Hand or Wrist

    Greetings Sandy,

    Difficult subject I think. The hand to the elbow argument was to counter the Russellites (Christian Congregationalist) from what I understand. It’s a pretty lame effort for justification considering it has always been called the “arm”

    Psalm 22:16 states a prophecy about the crucifixion of Jesus. The Psalmist states, “They pierced my hands and my feet.” The Greek for “hand” is said to mean from the tip of the middle finger up to the elbow. Although this is incorrect (people parroting others without knowing the facts). The Greek word cheir or ceir means hand or specifically, hollow of hand, nothing to do with the arm or wrist (Strong’s 5495). Acts 7:50 uses the same Greek word here "Hath not my hand (ceir) made all these things?"

    During historical Roman crucifixions, it is undeniable that 9 inch square spikes were inserted just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm or driven through the wrist, in a space between four carpal bones. Although for Christ special situation, an argument exists that the palms could have been used as experiments by the Romans, to prove that a person can be suspended by the palm of their hand.

    There is a persuasive outline here for the hands: I personally think the scriptural account is accurate, and it was his hands that were pierced, despite popular movies like “Stigmata” that insists it is in error. Phoenicians crucified their enemies on a stauros or stake and they would have nail prints in their hands and feet. It’s not at all impossible, although it would have been a departure from typical Roman crucifixions.

    There are a couple scriptures that seem to be clear on this. "Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands (Greek: ceir); and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." John 20:27

    I love the bible too and recognize it as perfect in spirit and truth, but it does have small errors throughout regarding details, chronology, geography and genealogy. I wrote about this here: The concept that the Scriptures are inerrant in construct was not promoted until around the 1900’s, in the wake of modernism. Previous of that, no revered scholar contemplated it. Today’s conservative and fundamentalist camps, especially among the Baptist convention’s, do hold vehemently to the inerrancy position.

    I love your comments, clearly your open mindedness to seek truth which supersedes tradition is admirable! Luther was as such As I often say “Religion seduces while truth liberates”.

    Blessings to you my beloved sister!


    • #3
      Steven, interesting discussion as always.

      I will agree with Sandy’s assessment that some tend to be too rigid, too legalistic, too precise in interpretation, and less considerate of where the Word moves one, either to, or away from something.

      “Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or rise up and walk?” Lk. 5:23. What is visible often is not what needs healed, it is what we “think” is hidden from all to see that really needs to be reconciled to the Lord. So, I might suggest that what is written might not always be what was intended.

      The will of God often remains hidden from those who fail to see through the eyes of a child. A hermeneutical approach to Scripture requires that one approach the task of reading in a deeper and more reflective manner in order to open oneself more completely to the Will of God at that moment, in our time, for all time. A time tested standard journey to a deeper relationship with God might begin with purgation, leading into illumination and growing toward unity! A worthy goal for all those who would be a saint.

      This Advent season is a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Make straight the path!

      Also known historically as St. Clair Glass


      • #4
        Hermeneutically Sound

        Deep commentary Joe! I like

        Your inflections reminds me of the Catholic classics "Dark Night of the Soul" By St. John of the Cross and "The Devout Life" by St. Francis De Sales.

        I do enjoy biblical hermeneutics, whereas it naturally aligns with my personality regarding the interpretation of theories that concern the meaning of written texts. I tend to focus on the historical-cultural relationships found between the author, reader and text. However, the grammatical, contextual, lexical-syntactical, and theological aspects can cloud the spiritual meaning as you said.

        Although one must not forsake the literal substance for merely a diet of spiritual contemplation, which therein lies many of mystical departures from truth. However, neither should a student of Christology be consumed with only the logic and written letter either, which feeds the pride of rigid legalism.

        There is that balance, and we tend to either lean toward one extreme or another if not accountable to a quorum of the faithful. Accountability not only to God, but clearly to others, those found mature in the faith.

        Thanks for the comments Joe. Very thought provoking!


        • #5
          While modernity creates challenges for Christianity, it also provides opportunities through the acceptance of the diversity within the context of human belief and experience. The world is in a constant state of change, people change, perceptions change, the meaning of words change. Though God does not change (Malachi 3:6) the world does change. I believe it is important for us, as Christians to preserve the truth of Jesus Christ and God. We should make every attempt to capture the essence of Jesus Christ in a manner that transcends interpretation, culture and time and invites the world to affirm that a real experience with Jesus Christ is still possible.

          If we are to look to the example of Jesus in his time, I believe, we will find that there several radical actions made on behalf of Jesus Christ that displayed in the New Testament. One example involves Jesus appearing to depart from the ethics detailed in scripture. In John 5:18, Jesus “deflated the dire warnings about breaking the Sabbath”. The actions of Jesus point us not to be stiff and legalistic, rather he calls us to be something entirely different.

          Social location including social region (Greek, Jew, Roman, etc), social class, status, wealth, and gender, those variations shaped people’s opinions and as a result, interpretations that influenced scripture. To complicate the understanding / misunderstanding of scripture further, the interpretation of Jesus Christ on behalf of a particular reader is contrasted by the particular insight of the reader that is also dependent upon their own social context.

          Additionally, particularly in the Gospel of John, juxtaposition of the eternal and historical exposes a basic paradox of this gospel: by its very approach it is a-historical that is, philosophical or theological; concerned with things outside space and time, things that happened in the beginning. At the same time, however, John is telling a historical story about historical persons. John’s story, paradoxical at its heart, is guided by the basic idea that the timeless entered time, the Word became flesh (1:14-18).

          For me, it is important to view Jesus Christ as he existed before he was chronicled by the apostles and before he was adopted as a cornerstone of the Christian faith (Matthew 24:42). For some people it is difficult to ascertain the literal meaning of the gospels because of the lack of the ability to use modern methods of historical analysis to verify the truth of the gospel texts. However, the lack of verifiable proof does not contradict the truth of the gospels. The truth of the gospels are reflected in the lives of people who have experienced transformation through understanding the miracles that occurred through the life of Jesus Christ. Modern historical analysis cannot quantify human experience, belief, and faith that are born out of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

          If Jesus Christ were portrayed as a simple, pure, and devout teacher then the depth of his impact on the people of his time provide substantial evidence that he was significantly different from any other human who has lived on the earth. The departing from the “ethics” as described above were not done to be divisive, rather they were intended to reveal God to humanity and to provide proof that Jesus is the Son of God.

          The reality of Jesus’ vision provided glimpses into what was and what was not important, and was born out of his divinity. It could be argued that a great deal of confusion related to the Christian faith points to a perspective that God is an angry, vengeful, unfair, and jealous God. However, through willingly sacrificing his life, Jesus provided proof of God’s love, not God’s vengeful, unfair, and jealous anger. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Jesus earthly mission was to convey, justify, and bring fourth God’s love.

          Jesus reached out to people irrespective of their particular religion, Samaritan leper (Luke 17:11-29), a Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:21-27) and a Gentile nobleman (Matt. 8:15-23). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, above all else, demonstrates the love of God. This demonstration is again affirmed by John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. The truth of the gospel is not necessarily portrayed by the actions of Jesus that are written in scripture.

          The truth of scripture is revealed through the meaning of the images that are evoked rather than the events that were recorded. The truth does not always rest on the facts, rather the truth is revealed through the story. Without an understanding of the meaning of the stories contained in scripture, it is easy to see how the critics of the gospels view Jesus as a hypocrite, racist, sexist, etc. A person may also go so far as to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead but the facts may not convey the true meaning of the story and the truth may still evade the person.

          Therefore, the encounter with people of little faith, or people of no faith, should initiate actions that were displayed by Jesus Christ. When Jesus encountered people of different faiths, he loved them irrespective of their belief.


          • #6
            Very interesting to hear what Joe and Michael have shared. Thanks to both of you as well as to Steven.

            1 John 1:1-4 really speaks to me. "that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life...." "For the Life was manifested.... " "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ...." "that your joy might be full.... "

            It is really all about having a living encounter with the Living God... and growing in that REAL relationship with HIM and not getting "snagged" on a few words that can take us down a legalistic path and leaving HIM along the way. (not losing our salvation... but losing the realness of our fellowship. )

            And I also find that many people are scared that they will be deceived "in the last days" SO they seem to be more dogmatic... more critical over each and every word that has to be SO right that they miss HIM and also miss fellowship with many of the Body of Christ.

            Then I just had one person be argumentive over a Christian not being able to be deceived...
            Seems to me I see a lot of Christians being deceived.

            Something 'simple' like leaving their own spouses and marrying each other because they are both more spiritual and this way they will have a good ministry. I would say that involves being deceived.

            Everyone of us needs a fresh download of HIS love for us and for one another. (and HE can start with me)


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